Flyers

Capital gain as Washington goes 1 point up on Penguins in Metro

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Capital gain as Washington goes 1 point up on Penguins in Metro

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Philipp Grubauer made 24 saves for his fifth career shutout and Nicklas Backstrom scored late in the second period to help the Washington Capitals salvage the final game of their California swing with a 2-0 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Saturday.

Washington was outscored 7-1 in losses to Anaheim and Los Angeles to open the trip before a narrow win in San Jose moved the Capitals one point ahead of Pittsburgh for first place in the Metropolitan Division.

Alex Ovechkin, two goals short of 600 for Washington, was held scoreless for the third straight game. Marc-Edouard Vlasic thwarted one chance for Ovechkin to get goal No. 599 with a strong back check and goalie Martin Jones robbed Ovechkin on a partial breakaway midway through the third period to keep San Jose's deficit at 1-0 (see full recap).

Leafs beat Penguins to snap skid
TORONTO -- Nazem Kadri scored twice and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2 Saturday night to snap a four-game losing streak.

Kasperi Kapanen, Mitch Marner and Patrick Marleau also scored to help the Maple Leafs get their franchise-record 10th straight home win. Frederik Andersen, appearing in his 57th game this season, stopped 38 shots.

Sidney Crosby and Patrick Hornqvist scored for the Penguins, who had won three straight and nine of their last 12.

Andersen had a shutout going until Crosby got his 23rd of the season with 3:36 remaining with a backhander that went in off Toronto defenseman Ron Hainsey's stick to make it 4-1. It was Crosby's 26th career goal and 57th point against the Maple Leafs (see full recap).

Boyle's shootout winner leads Devils past Predators
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Brian Boyle scored in the fifth round of the shootout to lift the New Jersey Devils to a 3-2 victory over the Nashville Predators on Saturday night.

Boyle beat Nashville goalie Juuse Saros with a quick wrist shot from the slot on the blocker side.

New Jersey's Taylor Hall and Nashville's Kyle Turris each scored in the fourth round of the tiebreaker after none of the first six shooters could solve the opposing goalie.

Sami Vatanen and Boyle had the goals in regulation for New Jersey, winners of two of three. The Devils moved past idle Columbus into the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. Keith Kinkaid made 34 saves through overtime and denied four of Nashville's five attempts in the shootout (see full recap).

Why Flyers fans should be concerned about post-NHL All-Star break playoff chances

Why Flyers fans should be concerned about post-NHL All-Star break playoff chances

On Saturday, we broke down why Flyers fans should be hopeful for the post-All-Star break stretch. Today, we look at the reasons for concern.

Alain Vigneault has 11 playoff berths on his résumé. He knows the requisites for a postseason club and the Flyers have failed to look like one in a key aspect.

"As a team that considers themselves a playoff team, you need to have a good road record," Vigneault said last month.

The Flyers do not through 25 road games. As stingy as they have been at home, they've been the polar opposite away from home. On the road, the Flyers are 10-13-2, have a minus-30 goal differential and are allowing the NHL's second-most goals per game at 3.80.

The figures above are a major concern and the Flyers must stem the tide over their final 16 road games. Vigneault's team still has two trips to Washington, D.C., two to Tampa Bay, Florida, two to Madison Square Garden and one more to Pittsburgh. Those matchups with the Capitals, Lightning, Rangers and Penguins will be stiff tests.

Speaking of the schedule, the Flyers are battling in the NHL's deepest division and have 14 games remaining against Metro teams. The Flyers are in sixth place of the Metropolitan Division (three points out of third place) but would be in first place of the Pacific Division.

The Flyers will be challenged the rest of the way and so, too, will their depth at forward. The Flyers are a middle-of-the-pack scoring club (15th in the NHL with 3.06 goals per game) and without Oskar Lindblom (Ewing's sarcoma) and Nolan Patrick (migraine disorder).

Is the team's youth in the bottom six enough for the playoffs and a competitive shot? Or will (and can) general manager Chuck Fletcher add at the Feb. 24 trade deadline?

Big questions and we'll have answers soon.

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2020 NHL All-Star Game: Flyers' Travis Konecny shows off his career-high stuff for Metropolitan Division

2020 NHL All-Star Game: Flyers' Travis Konecny shows off his career-high stuff for Metropolitan Division

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Travis Konecny stormed into the NHL All-Star break already with a new career high in assists. The Flyers' winger has 26 helpers and is projected to finish with 44, a sign of significant growth in a breakout 2019-20 season for the 22-year-old.

On Saturday night in the 2020 All-Star Game at Enterprise Center in St. Louis, Konecny put his facilitating on display during the 3-on-3 action featuring the world's best players. He finished with three assists in the Metropolitan Division's 9-5 semifinal loss to the Atlantic Division.

"I had a lot of fun," Konecny said Saturday, via Flyers senior director of public relations and communications Zack Hill. "It was pretty funny, I was watching my parents in the stands and my mom didn't understand why we weren't playing like a real game.

"It's my first game and it's her first time seeing it. I don't know if she was expecting me to be blocking shots and forechecking, stuff like that. I had a lot of fun with it.

"It was a really cool experience, getting to play with some players, too, that I usually won't get the chance to play with was fun."

Konecny playing in his first All-Star Game at 22 years old should be exciting for the Flyers. Claude Giroux was 23 years old for his first All-Star Game back in 2011. The future looks bright for Konecny, who signed a new six-year, $33 million contract back in mid-September.

With 17 goals and 43 points through 47 games, Konecny is eight goals and seven points away from setting career highs across the board.

A breakout, indeed.

Here are more sights and scenes from Konecny's first All-Star Game:

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